great britain

Getty Images

Great Britain’s top gymnastics coach steps aside amid investigation

Leave a comment

LONDON — Great Britain’s top gymnastics coach will temporarily step aside while allegations about her conduct are investigated, the country’s governing body said Tuesday.

Amanda Reddin has denied the allegations, saying her reputation within the sport “is now subject to a trial by media rather than through the proper processes.”

“The investigation will be completed by an external independent expert and any outcome actioned immediately,” British Gymnastics said in a statement. “Our processes and investigations will also be scrutinized by the independent review.”

Last month, British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen announced an independent review of claims of mistreatment in the sport in Britain. Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie say they have suffered from abusive behavior in gymnastics training for many years.

Two gymnasts made allegations of mistreatment by Reddin — the head national coach — on Monday, the BBC reported.

On Tuesday, Amy Tinkler, who won a bronze medal in the floor competition at the 2016 Olympic Games, said Reddin was one of the coaches she issued a complaint about in December last year.

Tinkler said on Twitter she was told last week her complaints had been dealt with and the matter was closed. She said receiving that information left her feeling “sick.”

“It reinforced mine and every gymnast’s fear, which is that their complaints aren’t dealt with fairly and independently,” she tweeted.

“This is why we don’t speak up. This is why we suffer in silence. We know that to speak up is a pointless, career-ending task.”

A complaint against Reddin dating back to the 1980s was not upheld by British Gymnastics,

Regarding the latest allegations, Reddin said in a statement to ITV Sport: “I completely refute these claims, it is wrong that my reputation within the sport that I love is now subject to a trial by media rather than through the proper processes.

“I would welcome the allegations be submitted to the independent review into alleged abuse in gymnastics to ensure the integrity of the process is protected for both athletes and coaches.”

British Gymnastics said “there is no place for abuse in our sport” and that “those that speak out about mistreatment in gymnastics must be heard.”

MORE: Chellsie Memmel, 12 years after her Olympics, comes back to gymnastics

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

British gymnastics stars speak up about abuse amid investigation

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Decorated British gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie spoke out about specific abuses they’ve experienced in the sport, becoming the latest athletes to come forward this week.

The Downie sisters, in social media posts on Thursday, said they’ve seen and experienced an “unsafe attitude to young girls’ weight, and the resulting mental health issues” and “dangerous consequences of over-training, which frequently was the norm, for fear of punishment or deselection.”

The comments came two days after British Gymnastics announced it launched an independent review into allegations of abuse in the sport. Before that, former British gymnasts said they were assaulted, bullied or abused by coaches.

“The behaviors we have heard about in recent days are completely contrary to our standards of safe coaching and have no place in our sport,” British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen said Tuesday. “It is clear that gymnasts did not feel they could raise their concerns to British Gymnastics, and it is vital that an independent review helps us better understand why so we can remove any barriers as quickly as possible.”

The Downie sisters are Olympians and world championships medalists.

“Over the past few days we’ve been watching our former teammates and friends bravely sharing their stories, and we can’t sit by and not offer support for them by sharing our own experiences,” they posted with the caption, “Our Story.” “Speaking out is something we’ve both felt we really needed to do for a long time now, but in truth, we’ve been afraid to do so.”

Becky Downie, the 2019 World silver medalist on uneven bars, said she was overtrained “to the point of physical breakdown” many times.

She said she was called “mentally weak” for speaking up at a national team camp and later suffered an ankle injury as a result of the unsafe training approaches. Downie required a fourth surgery on the ankle.

Ellie Downie, the 2019 World bronze medalist on vault, said she’s been made to feel ashamed of her weight for almost her entire career. That included a nutritionist telling her to submit daily photos of her in her underwear and everything she ate to ensure she wasn’t lying about her diet.

She said she was told at a national camp to lose six kilograms (13 pounds). If she hadn’t “made a dent” within two weeks, “there’d be consequences.”

The sisters said gymnasts were weighed regularly.

“We all know off by heart the weight of a bottle of water, and consequently eating and drinking the night before weigh day wasn’t worth the risk,” Ellie wrote. “To this day we still hide food for the fear of it being found.”

The Downies said there has been change since Becky Downie spoke up in 2018 about unsafe training, including the discontinuation of routine weigh-ins.

“We’re aware our contribution raises more troubling issues the sport must confront, but we truly hope it will contribute to positive change,” they wrote. “What’s clear from speaking to many different gymnasts from all over the world, this is a gymnastics culture problem, as opposed to just a national one.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: MyKayla Skinner’s motivation for Tokyo: her Rio Olympic experience

Sky Brown on skateboard crash: Even Beyonce falls

Sky Brown
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sky Brown, the 11-year-old Olympic skateboarding hopeful who suffered skull fractures in a recent crash off a vert ramp, chose to post video of the fall two weeks ago to send a message.

Beyoncé‘s going to fall,” Brown said, according to the BBC. “All your heroes are going to fall.”

Brown suffered the worst fall of her already impressive career after she lost her skateboard flying above the ramp while wearing a helmet. She was on her way down to landing on a concrete floor, 15 below, when the person filming dropped the camera to rescue her. She was unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital.

Brown explained her reasoning for sharing the video and scenes from her hospital bed. The Instagram video has nearly 1.5 million views.

“I just thought: on social media, everything’s like perfect,” she told the BBC. “People think, maybe I’m super girl or something, but I just want to show sometimes, you know, you’re going to fall. I wanted to spread the message, it’s OK to fall sometimes. You are going to fall. Get back up and keep on going because falling is part of life, and that can’t stop us from doing what we love.”

Brown also broke her left wrist and hand, but four days after the fall she was back to watching TikTok and eating her favorite snacks, according to her dad’s Instagram.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” according to her dad’s Instagram. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

Brown, the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline, could next year become the youngest Olympian since the 2008 Beijing Games and the youngest British Olympian ever outside of figure skating, according to Olympedia.

She vowed to get back on her skateboard and “go higher.” Her dad, sitting next to her, added one word.

Safely.

MORE: ‘Derek Jeter of Japan’ set to star at Tokyo Olympics

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!